Saturday, June 26, 2010

Personal Sized Apple Pies

So today, I made some Apple Pies. And not just any apple pies, personal sized mini-apple pies. And if you'd like I can show you how to make them too...

First, you need one of these...
I got it from Williams-Sonoma (the same place where got the Star Wars Cookie cutters)

Then you make your filling and pastry crust. I used this recipe for the pastry and this recipe for the filling. Although I had to make the pastry recipe twice to use up all the filling. In the future I'd probably half the filling recipe.

Then you roll out the filling and cut out one half of the apple shape

and then the other.
Then you put the piece of pastry with no hole in it in the bottom of the machine. Then fill add some filling, top with the other piece of pastry and squish!

Open it up and, Voila!
A nice apple, shaped personal size apple pie. :)
Sometimes they fail...

But most of the time they work just fine!

Then you bake at 400 F for 15-20 minutes.

And then you have a tasty little apple pie!

Or a dozen of them.

You can also top the pastry with an egg wash and some sugar and that makes them extra tasty!

And if you'd like you can make other types of pies, just to trick people. Because cherry pies that are shaped like apples are always fun! :D

I think I need much more practice, and possible a recipe that stands up to rolling out and being worked with well. But I really like my pocket apple pie maker. And what you could do would be to freeze the unbaked pies and then whenever you want a snack you can pull one out and have your own pie in the same amount of time it takes to cook a mini-pizza!

Monday, June 21, 2010

May the Cookies Be With You

I promised epic and now I will deliver on that promise...

Yes, that's right, a table full of Yoda, Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper Heads!

Here's a more detailed view...
Bakerella posted these a few weeks ago and I just HAD to have them!
They come from a fancy kitchen store in the States called Williams-Sonoma and they're Limited Edition for the 30th Anniversary of the launch of Empire Strikes Back. The store has a branch in Vancouver and so I got my Grandmother to pick me up a set when she was there.
Cutting out some Yoda heads

A Tray full of Stormtroopers
Then we glaze them...And they're tasty and ready for eating!

Of course you probably want the recipe and instructions. These cookies are pretty great and simple to make, although its a little time consuming.

2 cups butter (it must be butter), softened (Naturally softened makes the dough easier to work with)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. In another bowl mix the dry ingredients and then add slowly to the creamed mixture. Chill in the fridge for an hour or so. Grease cookie sheets. Preheat oven to 350. For the general cookies you just roll them out and cut them the way you like with whatever cookie cutters you have (my dad and I always make these for Valentines Day and top them with pink icing and cinnamon hearts) Bake 10-12 minutes.

For the Star Wars Cookies:
Divide chilled dough into four parts. Leave one part plain. To each of the other parts add the colouring for the character you like and knead it in like dough. It is best to use gel colouring because it doesn't thin out the dough, I used Wiltons Teal for Boba Fett, Kelly Green for Yoda and Black for Vader. Chill the dough again after you have added the colouring. Roll out, cut into shapes and bake 7-9 minutes depending on which cookie cutter you are using and the thickness of the dough. I then glazed them with the same glaze from this post.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Oreo Cheesecake

So I got this cookbook for my birthday and its really neat. It's called America's Most Wanted Recipes and it has all these recipes in it that are 'clones' of restaurant recipes. Pretty much, the author experimented until he had recipes that taste almost the same as the ones in the recipes. Now, as the title suggests they come from mostly American restaurants, some of which I have never heard of, but overall it seems like a really great recipe book.

The first recipe from it that I tried is 'The Cheesecake Factory"s Oreo Cheesecake. Now, again, being not an American the only reason I've heard of 'The Cheesecake Factory' is because its the place where Penny on Big Bang Theory works. So, I've never had the original of this recipe and so I can't exactly compare it.

"The Cheesecake Factory" Oreo Cheesecake

2 tbsp melted butter (or margarine)
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs

3 pkgs cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sour cream
5-10 chopped Oreo Cookies (for filling)
5-10 more chopped Oreo Cookies (for topping)

Allow all ingredients to come to room temperature (I didn't do this, although I did soften the cream cheese in the microwave as instructed on the package) Preheat oven to 325. Mix melted butter and Oreo crumbs and press into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, set aside. Using an electric mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in sugar, slowly. Beat in eggs, one at a time until combined. Add the salt, flour and vanilla. Beat until well blended. Add sour cream, beat well. Stir in the filling Oreos by hand. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Top with topping Oreos. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Use whichever cheesecake crack prevention methods you prefer. I have tried several different methods (water bath, leaving the oven door open for an hour afterwards, running knife around rim, doing nothing special and just letting it do its own thing) and I really haven't found a method I prefer, so whatever you usually do with cheesecakes, just do that. :)

I really liked this recipe, although I overcooked it a bit. It was really tasty and had that nice combination of soft and crunch. It even survived a 6 hour, 500km, road trip to my Grandmother's all nicely wrapped up in Saran and newspaper with an icepack attached. It was pretty great, now I can't compare it to the original, so the jury's still out on that. But I do think I will be trying other recipes from this book soon.

But! Even sooner that that I am going to be sharing a post with you that is so filled with awesome that your win-o-meter will be blown off the charts! I don't want to give any hints if you don't already know what's coming but make sure you tune in next week sometime for the most epic post you have seen on this blog so far. :D

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cookie Press Cookies

My Grandma gave me a cookie press for my birthday and I couldn't wait to try it out. I found this recipe and made the cookies a few weeks ago but I forgot to take pictures! So here it is now, cookie press cookies a.k.a Spritz Cookies

2 cups butter, room temperature (must use butter!)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350. Put cookie sheets in refrigerator. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Slowly add in flour. Mix well. Fill cookie press with dough. Squeeze out cookies, following instructions included with the cookie press. Decorate as desired, with sprinkles or whatever else you like. Bake for 10 minutes. When you take them out of the oven you can glaze them (recipe to follow) or just leave them plain. Make sure you return the cookie sheets to the refrigerator after each batch. I usually have 3 cookie sheets going at a time, one in the oven, one in the fridge and one with waiting cookies on it.

1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together. You may need to add more milk or icing sugar to get it to the right consistency.

I love these cookies! And I love my cookie press! It makes it so much easier to make sugar/shortbread cookies without all the rolling and chilling and rolling and chilling of the dough. And, as you can see it makes A LOT of cookies! Almost too many, and unfortunately due to the one egg, you can't halve the recipe very easily.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"Asparagus" "Cashew" Rice Pilaf

As you can probably tell by the large amounts of quotation makes I used in the title for this recipe, I've made a lot of modifications to the original. I found this recipe because I wanted to try something different for dinners and I've modified it several times and it's pretty good. Also, its flexible, which is good when you have so many picky eaters in the house. :-P

The Original - Asparagus Cashew Rice Pilaf - From Allrecipes

2-3 tbsp butter
2 oz uncooked spaghetti, broken into pieces
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 cups uncooked jasmine rice
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup cashew halves

Melt butter over medium-low heat. Increase heat, add spaghetti pieces and cook until lightly browned. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until tender (2 min). Stir in rice, cook another 5 min or so. Add broth. Bring to a boil and cook about 20 min or until liquid is gone. While rice is cooking, cook asparagus. When everything is ready, mix cashews and asparagus into rice.

Okay, so that's the original, but I've never made it that way.

For starters I've always used broccoli rather than asparagus. Mostly because I don't know the best way to cook asparagus.

Secondly, this dish was made as a 'vegan' dish. If you want to unvegan-ize it and also make it a lot more flavourful and yummy, replace the cashews with shrimp! It makes it so amazing, even if my dad refuses to eat it that way. :-P

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Black Forest Cake - Take 2

I made another Black Forest Cake for my mom for Mother's Day a few weeks ago. And it looked A LOT better than the first one.

It looks almost professional doesn't it?
If only I could figure out how to get the chocolate shavings on the sides without getting them EVERYWHERE else!
OH! And when I was in the States this past weekend I found cans of Sour Cherries that don't cost $6 a piece! So I can make this cake more often! (I bought enough cans for two more cakes, or a pie)